Supply chain issues caused by shipping delays, port backlogs, and now flooding and mudslides in British Columbia are causing problems for many Saskatchewan businesses.
One of those businesses is the Regina-based brewery Rebellion Brewing CEO and President Mark Heise said it’s been very difficult over the past year.
“It’s pretty much affected literally every portion of our business from just getting pint glasses or t-shirts to getting replacements when a canning line breaks down,” he said. “Previously, we would be able to get parts overnight, and recently in the summer, we had to wait two weeks just to get the part, so just constant shipping delays.”
These supply chain issues are connected to COVID-19. Industries that shrank during the pandemic are now trying to reopen and are demanding inventory at the same time.
Heise said overall; they have been pretty lucky to secure some products but knows other businesses haven’t.
“I am very concerned about how small businesses are going to manage in the marketplace. Just thinking about consumers in general, if you can’t buy something locally, as much as you may want to support a local business, you are probably going to go and buy it on Amazon, which is ultimately not good for the economy and certainly not good for local business.”
He said these supply chain issues have shown a dependency on importing.
“I think in the long-term I think it is showing the risks of being so dependent on worldwide systems and worldwide products,” he said. “In the short-term, you kind of have to go with the flow. We typically, for a lot of our beers, have really tight timelines and release dates, we’ve got marketing and events and stuff planned every time we launch a beer, and we just had to cancel all of that.”
He said if you can get something shipped, it costs a lot more than it previously did, causing businesses to have to raise their prices.
“We are in the same boat as everyone in the world, frankly, and it is concerning to see the costs of everything going up; ultimately, we have to raise our prices,” he said. “Even our big competitors they recently put in about an eight or ten per cent increase on their products across the board, so we are going to have to raise our prices going into 2022.”
He added these last couple of years have been tough on small and local businesses and that every dollar counts for businesses.